Beddoes shuns award

Mick Beddoes. Picture: FILE.

Former opposition leader Mick Beddoes declined an invitation to accept a 50th anniversary of Fiji’s independence commemorative medal from President Jioji Konrote.

Mr Beddoes said he received a letter on October 11 from Government House, inviting him to receive the medal on Tuesday.

He said he wrote back and gave reasons he was declining the award. “His Excellency’s Government’s suppression of our indigenous first citizens through the imposed 17 or more decrees that specifically discriminate against them while all other communities in Fiji, including my own, are not subject to any such repressive laws,” said Mr Beddoes.

“His Government’s continuing refusal to ratify the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, UNDRIP, which would give our indigenous first citizens the international recognition and the protection to which they are entitled.”

Mr Beddoes also highlighted the issue of Dr Brij Lal and his wife Dr Padma Lal who were prohibited from returning to Fiji in his letter, including “other violations of our citizens’ rights”.

“I advised the President that all these incidents are examples of abnormal conduct, inconsistent with the democratic values stipulated in the 2013 Constitution.

“I also referred to His Excellency’s assertion, as reported in The Fiji Times on October 12, ‘that we have put the ills of the past behind us’. I said that on the contrary, these ills are still very much with us today.”

Mr Beddoes stated in the letter “the actions by his Government that I highlighted were not only in breach of the 2013 Constitution; they are a stain on our nation and they dishonour i”In the light of these continuing injustices, I could not, in all conscience, accept the award,” he added.

More Stories